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By Stephanie Neely

One call to a healthier you in a few simple steps

Health care concerns are at the epicenter of everyone's focus these days. There are ways to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and create a healthier you.

The first thing to consider is a personal assessment. This is something you can do with a simple look in the mirror. Assess your skin, your weight, your posture. Where do you see areas to improve? What simple steps can you take to achieve this goal? Jot down your strengths, weaknesses and areas in need of improvement. Match those with any concerns or irregularities you may have.

Now that you have a clearer perception of yourself, schedule an appointment with a primary care physician. You may be surprised to know this is a free benefit with your insurance carrier. Federal mandates require all major insurance carriers to offer an annual well-visit at no expense to the patient. This approach offers a more proactive approach to your health rather than a reactive response when things go awry.

What if I don't have insurance?

No insurance? No problem. If you do not have a primary care physician or you do not have insurance, you have a few options. First, clinics are abundant and offer sliding scales relative to your rate of pay. They can offer a significantly reduced rate for you to get the health care you need.

Secondly, if this is not an option that appeals to you or your concern is imminent, a local Urgent Care can typically get you in right away. The fee may range from $60 to $125, but this will give you the peace of mind specific to your health. If the provider uncovers a concern that needs to be addressed, he or she can point you in the proper direction.

How to increase health outside the doctor's office

While you are waiting for your appointment, there are several things you can do to increase your overall health. The first remedy is as close as your kitchen sink or the nearest water fountain. That's right, drink up.

As a whole, we do not have enough water consumption each day. Water helps flush out the bad fat and increase your body's ability to lose weight and suppress your appetite. Whether your thick or thin, your body needs an abundance of water. A helpful tip is to keep a bottle handy all throughout the day. One of the many wonderful things about water is that it requires no refrigeration and tastes just as wonderful at room temperature.

Next, you can get yourself moving! No matter what the parameters of your health or what age group you are in, physical activity is what your body needs. You can gauge the level of intensity based on your endurance threshold. Certainly do not over exceed your limit before consulting a health care provider. Physical activity can increase your metabolism and trigger endorphins to help you feel better while also diminishing depression.

Physical activity is also the only statistically proven approach to raise your HDL also known as your "good" cholesterol. (Think H = Happy.) The benefit of high HDL, are countless and there is no such thing as too high HDL.

Finally, while your waiting for that appointment, rest up! You body needs and craves sleep. Insufficient sleep can increase your odds of poor health. This can range from irritability to insulin resistance leading to Type 2 diabetes.

Ultimately, it is important to document all health care concerns and communicate those to your practitioner. The modern day approach to health is to be proactive instead of waiting for a concerning ailment to become a chronic problem. Remember to make that appointment. Often, your insurance company will have a list of preferred providers. Be cognizant of your water intake and monitor your sleep habits.

These initial steps are the pathway to better health. Do your research and choose the provider whose objectives align with yours.

Now, why wait? Make that call for better health!

Article sources

AHA Guidlines, NIH Guidelines

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